Lets face it, rush hour is stressful. The alarm won’t stop snoozing. The conditioner won’t rinse out of your hair.  You have to try to fit in a workout, a healthy breakfast and perhaps a glimpse at what’s happening in the world.  Or like me, mornings are all about getting children out of bed, dressed, fed a healthy breakfast, packing nutritional lunchboxes and getting them off to school with everything they need for school and activities.  In all that craziness, I squeeze in a cup of coffee for myself but as a single mom, I am usually racing around in my pj’s and completely focused on them until they are at school… then my morning begins.

Mornings aren’t easy, but with the right approaches, you can bring your A.M. launch from rocket speed down to your speed.

If you have kids

Don’t yell orders at them at early hours of the morning – the more you tell them to get off their electronics and stop bothering their siblings, the more they’ll do it.  Us seasoned parents know the deal. Instead, try this – roll out of your bed and into theirs (do this early though). “Kids dawdle in the morning, because they realize that they will not see their parents until the end of the day,” says Aletha Solte in her book Helping Young Children Flourish.  “When children get some undivided ‘Mommy-time’ in the morning, even if it’s only 10 minutes, they’re much more likely to cooperate and listen to you.” Do that and your child will be more inclined to get dressed, eat breakfast and follow directions.  It works in my house.

If you need to walk your dog 

Asking your pup to do his business when the sun hasn’t even come up is not the best way to start the day. Instead, speed up his digestion process with a light 5-minute jog. Several studies have shown that not only will it boost your energy, but it acts as a great poop-motivator for your dog. Afterward, walk around the block for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re a dog owner, you know that dogs can learn to hold their bowel movements because that means they’ll get to walk outside longer.

If you slept horribly last night

Exercise, caffeine, alcohol, or heavy meals up to 3 hours before bedtime are all sleep-stoppers.  Or the dreaded scenario, a child was up all night.  The worst!  If you’re sleep-deprived in the morning, eat oatmeal. There’s research that shows that people who have high fiber, low-fat breakfasts have more energy, are more alert, and eat less until the next meal. Also, consider exercising in the morning. One study found that morning exercisers averaged 70 percent better sleep than evening exercisers, who may be disrupting their sleep-wake cycle by stirring up energy too close to bedtime.

If your partner gets up early and you don’t

Invest in a mattress that conforms to your shape while remaining firm in other areas, if you can’t handle the agitated movement next to you. This will decrease the chance of you making him get out of bed, and if you don’t get angry or feel the pressure to get up, hopefully it’ll be a smooth morning.

If you exercise

The best way to resist 20 more minutes of the snooze button is to pull yourself from bed and touch your toes. Doing an exercise in which you bend your head down helps bring blood to your brain and wakes you up.  I enjoy a good stretch in a down dog yoga pose.  Then eat a banana or an orange; your body needs the carbs before exercise. Maybe even add a cup of coffee: A University of Georgia study found that the caffeine can reduce muscle pain by 25 percent, since caffeine may block the nerve receptors that transmit pain. Now, go and work out!

If you have a 1-hour commute

If you have an hour-long drive to do, keep a cinnamon-scented air freshener in your car. Preferably natural cinnamon with nothing artificial.  Why? People who inhaled cinnamon or peppermint while driving saw a 20 percent decrease in anxiety, 15 percent decrease in fatigue, 25 percent decrease in frustration, and 30 percent increase in alertness, according to a recent study from Wheeling Jesuit University. “These scents stimulate the area of the brain responsible for alertness, called the reticular activating system,” says Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., study author. “This is the part of the brain that makes us fall asleep when we’re tired and wakes us up in the morning.”  I love using essential oils and use a peppermint body spray before I leave my house.

I hope these tips can help you get your day off to a great start!  Have an awesome day!